Texas Terroir

By Russell Kane and Terry Thompson-Anderson

During the 2013 Hill Country Wine and Music Festival in Fredericksburg, author and Chef Terry Thompson-Anderson and wine writer Russell Kane collaborated on an evening of food and wine pairings to raise money and awareness for the Texas Center for Wine and Culinary Arts, featuring recipes from Terry’s upcoming book, Texas Terroir: Celebrating the Flavors of the Lone Star State. We are sharing notes from this enjoyable event to highlight the fun and sensory experiences of pairing local food with Texas wine—to inspire your own pairings at home.

THE MENU

Amuse-Bouche

Spicy, Texas-Style Hummus with Pita Chips

Mushroom Rockefeller with a Hint of Herbsaint

Crostini with Salsa Pomodoro

Hilmy Cellars Tempranillo Rosé

First Course

Boiled Gulf Shrimp on Asian Pear Slice with

Texas Peach Rémoulade Sauce

Curried Crab with Saffron on Watermelon Wedge

Pedernales Cellars Albariño

 

Second Course

Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup with Pesto Garni

Texas Hills Vineyard Barbera

 

Third Course

Mini Salad in Bibb Lettuce Cup with Cilantro Dressing,

Tortilla Crisps and Seared Scallop

Duchman Family Winery Vermentino

 

Fourth Course

Sliced Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Orange-Chipotle Sauce on Onion and Jalapeño Polenta with Peppered French Green Beans

Woodrose Winery Tempranillo

 

Fifth Course

Seared and Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Spanish Chorizo and Mushroom Sauce on a bed of Kale with Jalapeños and Olives

Torre di Pietra Petite Syrah

 

Dessert Course

Fredericksburg Peach Bread Pudding with

Peach Schnapps and Whiskey Sauce and Chantilly Cream

Messina Hof Mistella “Glory” Late Harvest Muscat Canelli

 

After Bite

Chocolate Bouchon with Salted Agave Caramel

and Cointreau Crema

Fredericksburg Winery Orange Muscat

 

PAIRING NOTES

Color and Spice. The amuse-bouche had a predominance of spice, acid and color; the spicy, piquant hummus begged for a quenching counterpoint of sweetness in the wine while the salsa’s tomato and acidity sought a bright, red component and the acidity offered by the Hilmy Cellars Rosé made from Texas tempranillo.

The ultimate seafood wine. The elements of seafood and Asian spices in the first course led to the selection of the Pedernales Cellars Albariño with its characteristic crisp pear, peach and citrus flavors. (Albariño should be the go-to wine for Gulf seafood.)

Soup and red wine. This is perhaps the most difficult pairing, as most red wines are too harshly tannic. Enter the second course and Texas Hills Vineyard Barbera with its Italian heritage, crisp acidity and smooth, light tannic structure to accompany the tomato-basil soup. To illustrate the culinary flexibility of this wine, it has also successfully paired with red, raw maguro tuna.

Salad, herbs and wine. Salad is the next most challenging food-wine match, especially with the pungency of cilantro present. Our mindset was simply to select a white Italian-style wine (Duchman Family Winery Vermentino) that always yields more herb descriptors than fruit, which it provided with its intense minerality on par with the lettuce and scallop. This course also highlighted the fact that white wines can follow reds—providing a refreshing interlude in multicourse dining.

Red meat equals red wine. This is perhaps the most obvious and overused rule in the food-wine pairing arsenal. However, the fourth course’s match was determined not by this rule but rather by the predominance of the culinary accompaniments of garlic, pepper and orange. They led to a Spanish red grape and specifically to the Woodrose Winery Tempranillo with its peppery, orange-zest finish.

Earth, smoke and spice. Pork, a near-perfect chef’s canvas, allows the auxiliary flavors to lead the wine pairing. Here, the searing and paprika in the chorizo yielded smoke, the mushrooms and kale evoked the earth and the piquant jalapeños demanded the Torre di Pietra Petite Syrah that delivered one for one on each element of this dish.

Alcohol, fruit and relative sweetness. The whiskey in the bread pudding sauce begged for a high-alcohol wine with fruit dominance and led to Messina Hof’s Muscat Canelli, an aromatic, fresh, fruity wine fortified with brandy. The After Bite was very sweet and sticky. The Fredericksburg Winery Orange Muscat resulted in an orange-on-orange pairing. For both desserts, the wine was selected to be sweeter than the associated dish—a critical point because, if reversed, the results would be a bitter-tasting wine.

 

Dr. Russ Kane is author of The Wineslinger Chronicles: Texas on the Vine. He also blogs at vintagetexas.com. Terry Thompson-Anderson is author of many books including her upcoming book, Texas Terroir: Celebrating the Flavors of the Lone Star State.